Master Your Spending
We’re halfway through the Master Your Money Course—I hope you’re learning a lot and applying it to your finances! Yesterday we discussed how to make smart purchases, and today I’ll share my favorite money saving tips. There are many ways to save money and spend smarter. Here are a few of my favorite ideas from different budget categories:
• Books—Check out your local library to get access to books and more for free! Most libraries now also support ebooks and audiobooks online, so you can check out content without having to go to a physical location. If you still want to own a book, look up local used bookstores to get books at a discount. You can also see if there’s a Little Free Library near you.
• Movies—Your local library is here to save the day again; libraries usually have DVD collections and might have access to online movie services, so you can still have movie nights! Amazon, iTunes, and RedBox are other sources for cheap movie rentals. If you must go to the movie theater to see the latest film, at least skip the snacks or go to a matinee to save on cost.
• TV—Cut that cord! There are so many options nowadays for alternatives to cable; Hulu, Netflix, and Roku are just a few. You still pay a monthly subscription fee for these services, but it’s a lot less than cable. You might also consider not replacing cable with Netflix or Hulu Plus and getting outside more instead. Read, walk, hike, explore nature—all free activities!
• Transportation—Save on gas and car maintenance by walking or biking to your destination (if those are accessible options for you). You can also consider public transportation in your area; maybe you can take the bus to work instead of driving. When going out to dinner or meeting up with friends, consider picking a location you can walk to.
• Date Nights—Those DVDs from the library can provide great material for a movie date night at home. You can make your own romantic dinner by lighting some candles, setting the table nicely, getting flowers, and cooking something delicious together. Use fancy china and make dessert to make it more special. If you feel like it’s not a date unless you go out, try to mix up date nights by having some at home and some out to reduce the frequency of paying for expensive dinners. Then you can gradually transition to more and more date nights at home.
• Gym—Gyms and fitness classes are expensive. Take that transportation tip and use your feet and legs instead of your car for instant exercise. Workout outdoors instead of inside a gym. There are also tons of online videos that you can follow for specific exercises or classes. YouTube is a great source for these. If you like yoga, check out Do Yoga With Me for free online yoga videos at all levels.
• Lunch—Going out for lunch every day at work or school can get expensive. When you get groceries, get some extra stuff for lunch too. There are great resources online with ideas for packed lunches, or you could just make extra of the meals you’re already making for dinner and bring the leftovers for lunch. Packing your lunch is healthier and cheaper than going out, and you can still be social over lunch by meeting up with colleagues or friends in a cafeteria or outdoors. One last suggestion for packing your lunch: make your lunch the night before to save time in the morning.
• Groceries—Meal planning is the best way to save money on groceries and make sure that you use up what you buy. Before you go grocery shopping, look at the upcoming week and plan what you want to cook when. Write down the plan and use it to make your grocery list. Stick to the list while you’re at the store so you don’t buy any extras that sometimes sneak into the cart!
I hope you find ways to apply these tips and save money! Tomorrow we’ll talk about retirement! See you then!
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